“For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.
But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.
Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.”
Thus the focus is on America entering into this competition and what happens after she is in it. She never wanted to be princess, but could it be everything she actually has dreamed of?
I received this book as a part of a secret santa gift from Lucy @ https://thatbookgal.wordpress.com/! After I finished “Flowers for Algernon” I was in a bit of a “why do I even read” reading slump. It only last a few days though because my partner said to me, “Why don’t you read one of the books you got from your secret santa?” I was like, “Okay that makes sense, I want to read them anyways and I don’t have any preconceived notions on how I am supposed to feel with them. They are just fun reads to get to when I have the time.” The rest, as you could say, is history. As I went through the books I got from her (there were four in total and when I get to the other three I will link her again in this section to show my appreciation!). I settled on this one being probably the most fluff and out of the normal realm of reading for me. It wasn’t a social commentary book, it had no real important theme (diversity, racial discussions, poverty, homelessness, etc.). I decided it was perfect for trying to get out of a slump that I could feel forming. I had been wanting to read it though, but I have to admit I had been wanting to read it and put it on my shelves for a purely aesthetic reason: THE COVER! I love the cover to this and the other books in the series. They are so beautiful. Frilly beautiful dresses! SIGN-ME UP STAT!!
I don’t think I went into this book with any expectations, which is rare. I usually go into a book I am reading with certain feelings (i.e. I will love it, I already hate it, I want to read it because it is a classic and I will love it because it is, or etc.). This was literally no feelings. I didn’t know what to expect because I usually don’t read books that have a romance focus directly in the synopsis. I am a bitter betty for sure when it comes to romance, for some reason, in reading. I avoid it! I have no good reason either. It isn’t like some romance book did me wrong and now I think all romance books are going to do me dirty. I simply have avoided them. Maybe I don’t want to feel warm fuzzies or something? Who knows, but the point is that I have avoided them when it states directly in a synopsis that love is going to be involved in the story. Obviously “The Selection” has a romance, I mean it is right there in the synopsis that she has been having a secret love affair with Aspen and that she is selected and starts to feel certain ways towards Prince Maxon. It is all there spelled out for you. Still I went into it. I went into it expecting nothing, except that romance was involved and I have avoided it. I didn’t judge the book though because the frilly dressed immediately cancelled out my hateful romance feelings.
The beginning of the book was a little slow for me because it involved the build-up to why she was going to go into the selection in the first place. Why would this girl that says she wouldn’t want to participate suddenly go into it? Well, you have to read to find out, but the beginning of the book is definitely focused in on that aspect. It wasn’t until the reasons were in place and she got into the castle that I started going, “Oh my goodness, I am in love with this book.” I was mesmerized with the characters. The first moment that America interacts with Prince Maxon is cliched as anything I have ever seen, but I saw myself NOT CARING. I thought it was a cute little scene that developed them as realistic characters. Which, for me, that was one of my favorite parts of this book. While there were numerous other characters, I felt that Cass provided enough information about them that I understood their personalities enough to connect with them. This contrasts with the last book that I read (Flowers for Algernon) where I didn’t feel that there was enough given on the characters, for what was trying to be done by the author. Here we were given tid-bits of personality. We were made to understand that some girls wouldn’t be discussed that much and then would be gone. It reminded me of a reality television program (more on that tomorrow -wink wink nudge nudge-). In those types of shows you get people that just don’t seem to be developed or you just don’t get to know and then others you get to know too much about. This definitely has that feel surrounding the characters as a collective unit.
There are moments within this first book that are bit shocking, but I felt that also it was a bit predictable. You knew that she had to start to develop some feelings for the prince and you knew that there would have to be obstacles in the way. One of the obstacles that is put in her way was so obvious that when Cass introduced it I was like “oh boy, here with the cliches again.” Then I realized that it would actually add the needed depth for the second book, but I hoped it wouldn’t continue into the third. It would allow the series to actually be a series of three books. When I thought of it from this perspective I forgave Cass for the decisions she made, specifically surrounding the sudden inclusion of a character within the castle. The plot of this book wasn’t anything that would be considered the best book ever in all the world, but for me it was exactly what I needed. It was a fluff read about a girl put into a competition and realizing that she may not have had all the answers on love and her life that she thought she had. It was nice to read this. I also found myself really attached to a few of the other girls, which was nice that Cass was able to develop those feelings since our focus is always on America and her world. Cass did a great job of really making us understand these other girls in this book, which I think will have pay-offs or sadness in the next 2 books.
Overall, I loved this book. It made me understand that I have been ignoring a genre of books simply because I felt that I wasn’t supposed to read it (Romance). I will be reading more romance type of books to see if it is just this book series or if it that I really enjoy reading romance books. We will see, especially since I promise I will review them once I get to some of these romance books.
There are five books in the overall “The Selection” series, but the first three books are part of a trilogy! If you want to read them, I suggest reading these three first and then waiting to get to the other books as they take place sometime after the original story of America!